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Best Wine Shop in Brooklyn

  • g

I was wondering if any wine enthusiasts could help me find a good wine shop with a large selection. I know of one in Bay Ridge, Hendricks, on Third Avenue that is pretty good, but was looking for some others as well.

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  1. My personal favorites are Prospect Wine Shop on 7th Ave nr 8th St in the Slope and Chateau Wine and Spirits on Atlantic Avenue nr Hicks. Both have knowledgeable staff and offer sound personal advice, the second has many standard brands and liquor as well as tasted wine selections; Prospect Wine has a more tightly edited and highly interesting stock - very little liquor.

    5 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      What Jen called "Chateau Wines" is actually named "Heights Chateau." More importantly, it is located between Clinton and Henry Streets, on Atlantic Avenue.

      1. re: Alan Emdin

        I also like Heights Chateau. I started buying there when some good friends lived nearby, but sometimes I still come over from Jersey City, even tho my friends now live in Jersey!

        Great selection, great prices, great customer service.

      2. re: jen kalb

        Let me add my vote for Heights Chateau. Stock is deep and wide, and the staff is very knowledgable. Matthew, Rick and Judy, in particular, are very experienced and helpful.

        1. re: jen kalb

          I'll second the vote for Prospect. Not necessarily my favorite but I've noticed recently a more interesting selection - definitely worth checking out. Red White & Bubbly is also great, thanks to the owner's great knowledge of wine.

          1. re: Bookistan

            Im still strong on Prospect not sure Id recommend Heights Chateau to the same degree as in 2002. In my last forays the selections were not as tasty and the bar has been raised by new entrants and stronger competitors. Tho its been a couple years since Ive been back.

        2. I also like Big Nose, Full Body, on Seventh Avenue around 11th Street or 12th Street--good selection, extremely friendly and helpful staff(the owners are Canadian, so that's not surprising).

          1 Reply
          1. re: psistrom

            Canadian, eh? Yes, that would explain it.

          2. I would highly recommend Heights Chateau on Atlantic Avenue. Excellent range of wines, champagnes and liquors and friendly,knowledgable service.

            1. i live near a really large discount wine shop on Meeker Ave. in Greenpoint. i believe it's just called discount wine and liquors. it's on meeker and humbolt (near the BQE exit). or take the L to graham and walk northeast. i can always find a great selection of $8-12 bottles of shiraz.

              1 Reply
              1. re: stu
                Siergiej Sieriozka

                It's called BQE Wine&Liquors :)

              2. Red White and Bubbly on 5th Avenue and Union Street in Park Slope. It's run by a sommelier, the staff is always helpful & very knowledgable, their prices are reasonable, AND they have free wine tastings every Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Stephanie L.

                  And not just by any sommelier...Darrin Siegfried (who is also the owner) is the past President of the Sommelier Society of America as well as the Education Director, and he wrote the curriculum for their Wine Captains Course.

                  The shop is great, and Darrin is as nice and helpful as can be. Prices are quite reasonable, too. He's fantastic at recommending wine/food pairings, too.

                  1. re: Nina

                    I'm a wine moron, and the people in this store are gracious and helpful, always. Oops, I didn't notice how old this post is...but still.

                2. Hardes in BayRidge, I think its on 94 st (across from Chase) has lots to choose from. They have even ordered me some hard to get stuff without a problem. Very down to earth and I am not sure, but I think on the weekends they have tastings.

                  1. Five years later, does the recommendation for Red White and Bubbly still stand up? I go there infrequently but I haven't found an alternative that is as convenient. Anything new crop up on 5th Ave lately that would rival RWB?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: spicynuts

                      I am a big fan of Red White & Bubbly. When I lived closer to Fifth Avenue, we'd go there weekly. As has been said, Darrin and the old staff from a few years ago were all very friendly, and they had a great selection of wines and price ranges. However, I do not know the new staff as well as I do not shop there as frequently. But they do seem helpful and friendly.

                      Closer to Flatbush on Fifth Avenue is "Sip" (close to Miriam and the Pet "Pawtisserie"), which has a smaller, more upscale selection. Again, the staff is very helpful and you seem to be able to find more unusual varietals.

                      Since I live closer to Seventh Avenue, I tend to shop at 7th Avenue Wine (on the same block as Park Cafe). They have a fairly large selection and good price range as well.

                      1. re: elecsheep9

                        I haven't had good luck with selections from RW&B, and I find them expensive - a couple dollars more per bottle on things I recognize. Totally friendly staff, but not for me.

                        By contrast, SIP and I seem to be on the same page. It's a small well-curated selection, reasonably priced. I've been happy with everything I've bought there so far.

                    2. Heights Chateau is pretty good still, but my favorites are Smith & Vine (Smith and DeGraw) for their very well curated selection (especially the $10 bottle table) and Scotto (Court and DeGraw) for more variety (although not always top quality).

                      1. There are lots of great wine stores. I like Smith & Vine, Slope Cellars, Red White & Bubbly, Heights Chateau. Montague wines is great also. In Dumbo there is the coolest store ever Blanc & Rouge. Every neighborhood has a great wine shop! Sip, Uva, the list starts to get really long. And dont forget Fermented Grape! i think i'll buy some wine today.....

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: sharonm

                          We like Fermented Grapes (on Vanderbilt Ave) a lot. The owner knows her wines, and even though the store is not huge, the selection of wines is great/smart .

                          If you are interested in a wine that they do not carry, they will order it for you (if possible). Fermented grapes has fairly regular, free wine tastings. The service is very friendly and knowledgeable.

                          One very important detail: in the summer the store -the whole store- is cool: so you do not have to worry about the wines having suffered from too warm temperatures. There are many wine stores that are not cool enough in the summer.
                          Since they opened, Fermented Grapes became our favorite wine store in the area. We have bought quite a bit of wine here.

                          As for R, W & Bubbly: Yes, they are nice, and larger that Fermented Grapes, but we never seem inspired to buy anything there.

                          1. re: sharonm

                            This guy at Blanc & Rouge (seemed to be a manager or owner) had a very pompous attitude when I went in. Bleh. Was this a one time thing or has anyone else had the same experience?

                          2. Look, most people end up at the store that's closest to them (and people in Park Slope are fiercely loyal to their own wine stores). But count this as another vote for Big Nose Full Body -- they couldn't be nicer, and are always helpful, whether you need a great bottle of wine or your everyday $10 variety.

                            1. There's a new wine/liquor store on 17th Street and 5th Avenue. When it was being built it looked like it might be just a mediocre liquor store, but the owner is actually quite a wine fan and they have a decent-sized selection of non-standard bottles. The first bottle I bought there was a fairly complex Spanish red that I really enjoyed.

                              I'm sure I'll continue to shop at Slope Cellars, Red White and Bubbly, Smith and Vine, and the old reliable combo of Astor and Warehouse in Manhattan. But having a booze purveyer down here on 5th Avenue by Eagle Provisions and Lopez Bakery is a nice change.

                              Since this isn't another Park Slope thread, I'll put in my vote for Heights Chateau as best in the borough.

                              1. When it comes to wine I'm fiercly loyal to Slope Cellars (7 Ave and 15 St). Good selection, great prices and fantastic staff. They'll pick out and deliver a great case for us every couple of months or so and have turned us on to some really affordable gems. But if you're overcome by the desire to experience plain old joie de booze, then you have to go to LeNell's in Red Hook.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: HankyT

                                  ditto, my vote goes to Slope Cellar, great service, friendly, deliveries, knowledgeable, all of it...

                                2. I really like LeNell's for both spirits and its unique selection of wines. I'm not a big fan of Heights Chateau - I feel that the store is too big and there's lots of empty space on the shelves - that just kind of creeps me out in a wine store. I also am a big fan of Red, White, and Bubbly.

                                  1. Anybody ever been to Scotto's Wine Cellar on Court? I wouldn't call it upscale as 90% of the store is dedicated to the usual suspects that you find all over. They're "old school" in the sense that they cater to the locals who just want to get a good buzz on. But, way in the back, they have a little nook dedicated to Italian wines. I've found some great gems for very reasonable prices.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Gnu23

                                      I have found Scottos to be very much an unambitious old-school neighborhood wine store - unless they have hired someone recently with good wine knowledge, they are not very interesting or good. And not even very knowlegeable in the Italian sector - I remember a few years back looking for Maraschino in there and the proprietor not knowing what it was!

                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                        I agree, jen kalb, they're not ambitious and seem to be content to stay that way. When was the last time you were there? They have a small room way in the back where they keep the Italian wines. Granted, it's a tiny selection and can't compete with the sheer volume of any of the other stores mentioned here, but it's an interesting mix of wines. It's almost like their distributor is using them to move the lesser know Italian varieties. For example, Scotto’s is the only place I’ve found in Brooklyn that consistently carries Lacrima di Morro d'Alba...a very tasty red from the Marches province. I’m not saying this is a Great wine store by any means, just that it’s a place under the radar that usually has a surprise or two.

                                        You can go anywhere in the city and find Barolos and Brunellos, or any other nebbiolo or sangiovese based DOCGs. But stopping at those wines is like thinking that the only beers from Germany are Pilsener and Weisse.

                                        1. re: Gnu23

                                          honestly, its been a while, its not in my nabe,and a number of reasons I had in the past for going to Carroll Gardens on a regular basis, such as Latticini Baresese, have closed in recent years (maybe the Cammerari reopining will bring me back). But so many wine stores have opened where the owners actually have knowledge and stand behind their wines with their tasting that Im not highly motivated to visit again.

                                      2. re: Gnu23

                                        I like Scotto's California selection. They have more than a lot of other Brooklyn shops. I don't think they're great in terms of general wine knowledge, but if you know what you want, it's a good place to find some values.

                                      3. Looking over this whole thread it seems like this is a topic that should be updated. The OP is from 2002! There's been a lot of change and growth in the Brooklyn wine business since then.
                                        What about Sip Fine Wine on 7th Ave?
                                        Fermanted Grapes on Vanderbilt?
                                        I went to Sip the first week they were open and the owners seemed like cool, friendly guys. I bought a few bottles but haven't been back since.

                                        1. I like Sip, too - they have a very nice sparkling Lambrusco that is very nice and dry.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: lambretta76

                                            I love Lambrusco! Esp. the dry variety. Do you know if they regularly carry it?

                                            1. re: Gnu23

                                              Gnu23, if you're looking for a good lambrusco in Carroll Gardens, try Smith & Vine on Smith between degraw and sackett. I had a good one from there a few months ago, although I can't recall the name now.

                                          2. I've always been happy with my purchases at SIP, but I've never found the staff particularly friendly. Maybe it's because I'm usually looking for a nice under-$15 bottle. Has anyone else had this experience?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Gluttonous Prime

                                              I'm usually in that category, and they're good with the recs. That's actually what I love about SIP - and why I go there instead of RW&B. I never get anything I particularly like at that price point at RW&B...and it's close to home, so if anyone would like to mention specific wines they like there . . .

                                              Gnu23 - most of the stuff upthread is a 2007 update

                                            2. I hate to say: http://wine.woot.com/

                                              There is a place on Henry and Atlantic that I like. LeNells.com in read hook is small but fun.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Geo8rge

                                                Henry & Atlantic is Heights Chateau, discussed extensively in this thread. A great store with knowledgeable staff and good depth. Great customer service for the random bottle of something to go with an exotic dish you are making for dinner, or a large party order. Someone else mentioned Montague Wines (Montague off of Hicks toward the water). This is the store I frequent most often because it is so close to me, but I don't love it. Most of the recent hires aren't terribly knowledgeable, the selection is not terribly interesting -- lots of mass produced wines under $15; ok selection of midrange wines, some interesting selections in the higher end, but I worry about quality -- there isn't a ton of turnover and I'm not confident in their storage methods, etc. The owner occasionaly makes noises like he is interested in customer service, but I'm not convinced. I once tried to special order a wine they didn't stock and he lost the order for about 8 months, then told me he'd order it and never did. Also, I recently overheard a new staffer giving completely inaccurate descriptions of some very standard mass-produced wines. That being said, they are a serviceable neighborhood wine store. Michael Towne wines at Clark & Henry is also good. In Brooklyn Heights, my preferences are in order: Heights Chateau, Michael Towne and then Montague Wines.

                                              2. I really like the wine and liquor shop on 7th avenue near lincoln place they deliver and the owner was quite savvy about wine--I forget the name-hope it is still there-haven't been back in a number of years-

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: marlie202

                                                  I think you mean Seventh Avenue Wine & Liquor? They're pretty good. Good variety and they seem to be constantly changing their selections. In other words, you can go in one day and make a great find but next time you go it'll be gone but they will have something new, and sometimes just as good, in it's place.

                                                  1. re: Gnu23

                                                    I have been pretty disappointed with their recommendations--I don't think their staff knows much about wines to tell the truth. I go out of my way to go to Red White and Bubbly...Initially I thought they were overpriced, but changed my mind after asking for recommendations from their staff. Outstanding recommendations --its fun to buy wine there. i usually spend between 11-25 dollars (closer to 12-17 range), and they have a lot of great bottles in that price range.

                                                2. what about Paley's wines--is it good and still open????

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: marlie202

                                                    Leon Paley sold quite a number of years ago. I think the Seventh Avenue Wine store discussed above is his old location.

                                                  2. I'll add to the nods for Red White and Bubbly, such a pleasure to shop there, the space is wonderful, the selection broad, and the staff couldn't be nicer. I popped into LeNell's two weeks ago during a Red Hook foray and was totally charmed, such humor, fun and cleverness I've never seen incorporated into a liquor store. I'll be back. Funny no one's mentioned Shawn on 7th Ave?! I live around the corner and won't go in there to face that cranky, irrascible dude who runs the place (maybe the owner? I hope not..) , no matter how nice the 'kids' behind the register are. I'll walk the eight blocks rount trip to 7th Ave. liquors, or do without, rather than spend any money at Shawn ever. (Have wondered if other's have felt this guy's customer-hostile edge?)

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: bklynbiker

                                                      Plus, he had consistently weird recommendations. Stuff that just didn't taste good. Darrin @ RW&B, on the other hand, never lets me down.

                                                        1. re: doldrums

                                                          I say Red White & Bubbly. I was at a tasting there this weekend and tasted Brooklyn Wine Company Red & White, 2 different blends. It turns out this wine is their own brand they've been working on. They said they have a few more wines being made for their brand coming out this year & next year. Pretty cool idea, & very good wine too!!

                                                          1. re: sloper

                                                            Indeed they were good. The label is something Darren [Siegfried, the owner] developed with Clark Smith (WineSmith, CheapSkate, etc.), and Clark himself was doing the pour. Darren told a funny story about another wine shop in Manhattan that made a big deal of pretending to keep the grapes of its house label secret, but dropping deliberately misleading hints like "Well, you've heard of Domus, haven't you...?" Clark said they will be bringing out a Meritage in the fall. Still, for my money, the real action was in the front room--with the Domaine Combier Croze Hermitage being the real standout.

                                                          2. re: doldrums

                                                            sip is expensive.. their prices are up to 50 %more than some New York stores on certain Items..

                                                          3. If you have a car - there is a new huge store called Best Buy Liquors in Coney Island - it's cheaper than any other store I know, and has a parking lot.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: nokitsch

                                                              Heights Chateau is excellent - the more you know about what you like the more they can help you. The people are friendly, knowledgeable and interested in getting you interested in wine. They are also really good in the $9-$15 price range and are happy to help with the less expensive wines - no highbrow stuff from them!

                                                            2. Five years from the first post and still no other mention of Hendricks on 3rd Ave & 76th. I was just there last night to get a bottle to match the Middle East feast we had at Tanoreen (excellent food!) and the service was friendly, knowledgeable, much more than I expected. For those of us not in Downtown BK or the Slope, I had to give another shout-out to this place. I will also definitely try the wine shop mentioned earlier on 17th & 5th Ave. We are also fans of Lopez Bakery for the baked goods and Eagle Provisions for the HUGE beer selection

                                                              1. Now that it is OK to buy French wine again, I highly recommend the selections at Height's Chateau and Michael Towne.

                                                                They also have an excellent selection of Italian wines. The staff at both places are knowledgeable and helpful. Towne offers a 20% discount on 12 or more bottles.

                                                                The French wine industry needs a boost.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Fleur

                                                                  Height Chateau is great when you want a big selection, but Smith and Vine is my absolute favorite. I'm surprised not to see more recommendations for it here. Great staff with really good wine knowledge and a laid back, friendly atmosphere. And their $10 under table is terrific (there are also good higher priced deals!). Smith and Vine is one of my favorite things about living in Carroll Gardens.

                                                                2. Hendricks has gone seriously downhill since the owner moved away. Three kids seem to run the place and they haven't a clue about wine. Selection has been seriously lacking for quite a while now.

                                                                  No wine knowledge + poor selection = lame

                                                                  No if you want some Bacardi 151...

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jamie2742

                                                                    Anyone here ever go to Caesar's wine & liquors over in Bensonhurst, on 67th and Bay Parkway? I recently moved into the neighborhood, so I've been hitting all the Liquor/Wine shops I came across trying to find one that "did" it for me.  When I went into Caesar's for the first time I have to say I was mighty impressed.  All the other stores I tried were on the small side, this place is huge, at least for wine/liquor store in Brooklyn (out in the suburbs I've seen comparable & even bigger but not in the city limits).  The selection is really quite impressive.  I'm big into wine, and there is quite a bit to choose from here.  I like some obscure stuff, and I found myself very happy in the aisles as I walked around.  For example--they carry three different brands of Fiano di Avellino (you're lucky if you can find one at most shops in the area).  Needless to say that every time I go in there I can walk out with something new and interesting (they've been turning me on to some fun South African wines lately).  The place is actually pretty packed, there are floor stackings everywhere (it gets tight in places).  The service I've received has been pretty impressive--there are a couple of 'wine guys' there who really know the wines (Joe and Tony D), and the recommendations they've made have been spot on and have helped broaden my understanding of what I like. They are knowledgeable and helpful and make me feel totally comfortable.  I took a friend of mine along one night and while I was in the wine section, he went over to the Scotch section.  He said he was impressed with the huge single malt selection, and I don't think I've ever seen so many different vodkas in one place in my life.  Let's just say that the 'booze' side of the store features some huge selection.  Oh and their prices are very reasonable as well, some of the cheapest I've seen around actually.  Having hit all the stores in the neighborhood I can say that this is by far the best wine/liquor store around.

                                                                    1. re: stugotz101

                                                                      i have been in that store and i have to disagree. They were rude and i felt very uncomfortable. In search for better help i made my way to Bensonhurst liquors( 7506 18th ave). the staff was a complete delight to deal with. They were helpful and gave me many great suggestions because i know absolutly nothing about wine and need all the help i can get. the prices are always fit for your pocket. there is definitly something special there. if you want to see a good selection and great staff you have to go there. im happy i made my switch which i should have done along time ago.

                                                                  2. I love, love LOVE the Greene Grape on Fulton Street by my job. Everything's less than twenty dollars, the staff is very knowlegable and helpful, and they do tastings as well. I just really love the under twenty dollar part, because it makes me feel like I'm not a cheap piece of crap when I shop there and come home with something really great.

                                                                    I also second Harde's in Bay Ridge. I've been going there for years, and the staff always has a kind word and a great recomendation. It's family run, which I love. And they helped me out with the wine for my wedding, and cut me a great discount.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Lincolngrrl

                                                                      I've never really liked any of the wine I bought at the Greene Grape. Thirst is a few blocks away and is worlds better in my opinion. I also really like Smith & Vine.

                                                                      1. re: wst

                                                                        I used to be a BNFB fan but have recently switched to Slope Cellars. The folks at BNFB are extremely nice and I respect their efforts to introduce their customers to unusual and reasonably priced wines. However, there are several reasons why I had to part ways with them:

                                                                        1) I got too many poor recommendations from staff.
                                                                        2) In any good wine store, one of the things that I appreciate is when the staff remember conversations they have had with you and can give you recommendations based on your preferences. I sometimes felt as if the BNFB folks were suffering from mass amnesia. I bought at least 10 mixed cases from them and they couldn't remember who I was, let alone the wines I bought.
                                                                        3) With computer technology the way it is, it is pretty easy to keep track of one's wine purchases. For all its hip decor and high tech centrifugal chiller, BNFB does not have a system to keep track of your purchases or a place to keep credit cards on file.

                                                                        In contrast, the first time I went into Slope Cellars, the proprieter was attentive and knew a great deal about all of the wines he sold. When he couldn't quite remember his thoughts on a particular wine, he said "wait a second, let me look up our tasting notes on that one." and pulled up a database with comments from the staff. They have a database to keep track of purchases and your credit card. You get a free 13th bottle at a price that is the average of your previous 12 purchases so even if you aren't into buying cases you get something for loyalty. Finally, when recommending wines that would fill out a mixed case he said "I'm not sure you will like that wine based on what you have chosen." Hallelujah. Slope Cellars - great local wine store with knowledgeable staff.

                                                                        1. re: mmm...food

                                                                          Slope Cellars also has an e:Mail list which pairs their wine recs with a restaurateur’s menu (usually prix fixed) and listings to other events in the area. They also have good music playing whenever I’m there.

                                                                      2. I adore Smith & Vine in Cobble Hill - in addition to their carefully picked selection and excellent and friendly service, their $10 table is consistently excellent and also priced below what you will find at other stores (by that I mean that their $10 wines are $12-$13 elsewhere).

                                                                        After that, I vote for Red White & Bubbly.

                                                                        1. Slope Cellars all the way. I walk right by Prospect Wines (snooty staff!) and Big Nose Full Body on my way there. Slope Cellars has boxes all around the store labeled "Cheap & Tasty" full of tasty grabs for under $10/bottle. Get a Wine Club card to get every 13th bottle for 99 cents, and buy wine in cases to get a 15% discount.

                                                                          Staff members are as relaxed and unpretentious as they are knowledgable, and never pushy.

                                                                          I know -- I'm starting to sound like I work for them, but really I just love them to death. Check out their website: http://www.slopecellars.com/

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: lmoy

                                                                            I disagree with your comment about the staff at Prospect Wines - they go out of their way to help you find good wines, and they actually taste their selections, which are generally of a very good quality. It seem like they have been stocking more economical stuff recently in recognition of the economy, which I appreciate.

                                                                          2. Thirst in Ft. Greene, all the way. Very well edited selection and truly wonderful finds. They're apparently one of the few around here that carry Kermit Lynch's imports. Great Cognac and whiskey selection too. A whole order of magnitude better than Greene Grape.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: fatisflavor

                                                                              Michael Towne is a good wine store on Henry Street. Nice staff too.

                                                                            2. How about Gnarly Vines on Myrtle between Carlton and Adelphi?

                                                                              Fairly large selection especially of the less expensive stuff.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Salcabes

                                                                                Gnarly Vines is just awful. Terrible cheap wines, not even that many good expensive ones. I've hated every bottle I've gotten there.

                                                                                I just moved to Vanderbilt and Myrtle from Carroll Gardens and I really really miss Smith & Vine. Around here Thirst is definitely the best, followed by Greene Grape. Thirst almost matches S&V in terms of the friendliness and knowledge of the staff, but prices there and at Greene Grape tend to be $2-$3 more for the same exact wines. It doesn't make any sense to me, maybe storefront rents are more expensive in Fort Greene. So I still bike down to Smith & Vine when I can...

                                                                                1. re: Salcabes

                                                                                  I really agree with robnyc77 about Gnarly Vines. There are a lot of terrible wines in there, and most of the decent ones are available elsewhere in the neighborhood for less.

                                                                                  I also agree that Thirst is the best in FG. My only real complaint is that they stock what the owners really like, which is great in a way but there are a few things they simply don't have.